Whether online gambling is legal or illegal depends on the country in which it is being played. Typically, countries that allow online gambling may require that players be at least 18 years old. Some may also require gamblers to be as old as 19 years.
If a gambler is in the United States, he or she may be subject to the federal criminal statutes that govern illegal gambling. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA).
If a gambling transaction takes place in the United States, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution can be an issue. However, due process arguments have had little success in fighting these laws.
Some state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This has led to attacks on the Commerce Clause, but has also led to questions about the ability of the federal government to prosecute this type of crime.
The United States v. K23 Group Financial Services is an ongoing criminal case that charges Internet poker operators with violations of 18 U.S.C. 1955. The United States charged K23 Group with money laundering and violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. In exchange for a $4.2 million fine, the company agreed to launch a public-service campaign.
Other states have taken similar steps to combat online gambling. The District of Columbia, for example, passed a law that prohibits internet gambling sites that allow players to place bets in the District of Columbia.